BBC2 and PBS Commission ‘War of the Worlds’ Style Drama / Doc on Alien Lives – Deadline

EXCLUSIVE: BBC2 and PBS have ordered a War of the Worlds-Drama / style hybrid documentary that highlights a near future in which alien life has been detected.

First contact will combine real documentary interviews with some of the world’s foremost scientists with a fictional narrative written and directed by The world according to Jeff Goldblum director Nic Stacey. BBC Studios Science Unit, which was originally Netflix’s BAFTA Award The surgeon’s cut (photo) and BBC2 / PBS ‘ The planets, collaborates again with the two networks on the feature film.

Prominent scientists now believe there is a real possibility that we will soon be detecting alien life and the show will feature the latest cutting edge technology while also featuring contributions from Dr Jill Tartar, a trailblazer who inspired Jodie’s character. Foster in Contact, as well as the presentation of the James Webb Space Telescope.

Executive producer Andrew Cohen, who produced a BBC Horizon documentary nearly 20 years ago on a future pandemic which he said was “heavily criticized at the time for being scary,” revealed his team was planning to do a show about alien life for some time and the pandemic made it more timely.

“This is being done in the shadow of a pandemic which has raised themes around what it is like for a planet to feel deep existential uncertainty,” he added. “The public is now more ready to explore these questions than they were two years ago. “

“Aggressive confidence”

Cohen said there is currently an “almost aggressive faith” in world facts that has put his team at ease to produce the series in a hybrid drama / doc style.

While crediting the streamers in part for this development, he said First contact “Built on the nerve” of his team’s recent BAFTA nominee 8 days: to the moon and back, which used innovative lip-syncing techniques to recreate the 1969 moon landings and also aired on longtime contributors BBC2 and PBS.

“In the past, fact-based TV could be quite edgy and backward-looking, but now if there’s a story we want to tell, we’ll find a way to tell it,” he said. “It’s about history and how audiences want to be immersed in incredible storytelling. “

The 90-minute film was commissioned by Patrick Holland, Director of the BBC, Factual, Arts and Classical Music Television and Jack Bootle, Head of Commissioning, Science and Natural History.

Elsewhere, the pandemic has also increased viewers’ appetites for science, added Cohen, whose department carried out recent fast-rotating BBC papers on Covid-19.

“Trying to compete with the news cycle in documentaries is almost impossible, but we can add depth and insight,” he added.

Cohen’s unit is also working more in the ad-supported programming space, having produced Cook smart, waste less with Prue & Rupy for Channel 4 in May, which was partly funded by Hellmann’s Mayonnaise, as well as a Hyundai-sponsored short film series for BBC Global News.


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